July 29, 2006
As the various collegiate summer baseball leagues wind down, several Notre Dame players have received top honors while helping their teams contend for league championships. The late-summer highlights have included: Sean Gaston repeating as a Cape Cod League all-star; Gaston and Brett Lilley helping the Cotuit Kettleers remain atop the CCL standings; Ross Brezovsky and Sam Elam leading the Hays Larks to the Jayhawk League title and a spot in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series; Wade Korpi being named MVP of a Staunton Braves team that has surged to within one win of making the Valley League finals; and Eddy Mendiola playing for an Altamonte Springs Snappers team that will finish atop the Florida Collegiate Summer League standings.
CAPE COD LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME – Gaston and his West teammates lost to the East, 7-2, in the annual Cape All-Star game (played July 29, ay Yarmouth-Dennis) … Gaston was a starter in the ’05 CCL All-Star game (also Cotuit ’05 MVP) and was selected as a reserve all-star this summer (he went 0-for-20 … a high percentage of players in the Cape are named all-stars, as over 50 players were named all-stars in the 10-team league (an average of more than five per team) … the five teams in the West sent three catchers to the all-star game: Gaston, starter Mitch Canham of the Falmouth Commodores (Oregon State) and the Wareham Gateman’s Joel Collins (South Alabama) … Cotuit’s eight all-stars included three infielder starters – South Carolina teammates Justin Smoak (1B) and Reese Havens (SS) and Loyola Marymount 2B Eric Farris – and Mississippi State LF Jeff Rea, plus reserve RHPs James Simmons (UC Riverside), Jay Brown and Cory Gearrin (who both play their college ball at Young Harris) … other starters for the West team included Hyannis Mets 3B Matt Mangini (N.C. State), Falmouth CF Brad Clark (Clemson), Bourne Braves RF David Cash (Florida), Falmouth DH Brett Wallace (Arizona State) and Hyannis LHP Charlie Farbush starts, … other reserves: Bourne IF Brett Bartles (Duke), Falmouth OF Warren McFadden (Tulane), Wareham LHP Jeremy Bleich (Stanford) and RHPs Travis Banwart (Wichita State) and Connor Graham (Miami, Ohio), Bourne RHPs Andrew Carignan (UNC) and Tom Farmer (Akron), Hyannis RHP Danel Latham (Tulane), and Falmouth RHPs David Kopp (Clemson), Sam Demel (TCU) and Eddie Kunz (Oregon State).
COTUIT EYES CAPE TITLE – Gaston and Lilley have helped Cotuit compile the best overall record in the Cape Cod League this summer (24-12-1) … the Kettleers have seven games left in the regular season and likely will play in the four-team league playoffs (Wareham is second in the West at 20-17, with Falmouth third at 18-18) … the East’s likely playoff teams are the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (23-15) and Brewster Whitecaps (21-15-2), with the Orleans Cardinals currently in third place (19-7-1) … Cotuit owns the league’s best team batting average (.256) and top staff ERA (2.16) … Gaston ranks 3rd among the Cotuit players in runs scored (18), plus 4th in RBI (15) and hits (31), 5th in games played (33) and 6th with a .256 batting average … his other season stats include 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 sac. bunts, 3 HBPs, 10 walks, 17 Ks, 0-2 on SBs and just a single error (he has made 30 starts at catcher, plus a lone start in the outfield) … Lilley owns the team’s 2nd-best season on-base percentage (.390) that includes 11 hits, 15 walks and 6 times hit-by-pitch … the junior-to-be 3B also has totaled 9 runs, 5 RBI, 4 sac. bunts, 10 strikeouts, 1-of-2 stolen bases and 4 errors while appearing in 27 games (all at third base).
LARKS FLYING BACK TO NBC WORLD SERIES – Brezovsky and Elam have been major players for the Hays Larks team that won the Jayhawk League and is heading back to the National Baseball Congress World Series, a 72-year old tournament that features 43 teams from throughout the nation … Hays is making its fifth trip to the NBC World Series in the past six years … the double-elimination tournament is held at various fields in Wichita, Kan. … Elam is slated to start Monday’s game vs. a Houston Apollos team that opened with a 12-4 win over the Plaza Tire Capahas … the winner of that game will advance to play on Aug. 3 vs. the winner of the Austin Gold Sox-Hawasu (Ariz.) Heat game (that winner then is in the final eight of the winners bracket and next would play on Aug. 5) … Elam is averaging 14.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched this summer (64 Ks/40.2 IP) while leading the Larks in ERA (1.33; min. 15 IP), Ks and low opponent batting avg. (.083) … the rising sophomore LHP also ranks 2nd on the staff in wins (7-0), with his other stats including 15 appearances (3 starts), just 11 hits and 13 walks allowed, 4 wild pitches and 4 hit batters (he has yet to allow an extra-base hit all summer) … Brezovsky has been out recently with an ankle injury and the junior-to-be 2B may not play for Hays in the postseason … Brezovsky ranks 4th on the team in batting (.327, well above the overall team batting avg. of .301) and is 5th among the Larks players with 26 runs scored … his other stats in 32 games played (29 starts) include 32 hits, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 16 RBI, a .429 slugging pct., 10 walks, a HBP, 8 Ks, a .394 on-base pct., a sac. bunt, a stolen base and 7 errors (.947 fielding pct.).
KORPI AND STAUNTON MAKE THEIR MOVE – The Staunton (va.) Braves own just a 15-27 overall record and finished 4th in the South Division of the Valley League, but the Braves knocked off the division-winning Waynesboro Generals in the first round of the playoffs and now are one win away from the championship series, after a 5-4 win over Harrisonburg (best-of-3 series) … Korpi pitched in the second of three games vs. Waynesboto and would not draw another start until the final series (best-of-5), vs. the winner of Luray and New Market (the North Division regular-season champs) … Korpi’s MVP season with Staunton includes a sparkling 0.99 ERA and 2-2 record in 8 starts, with 43 Ks, 27 walks and 34 hits allowed in 45.1 IP … the rising junior LHP owns the top ERA among the regulars on the staff and would be leading the league in ERA if not falling a little shy of the innings-pitched minimum (his .207 opp. batting avg. would rank 3rd in the Valley League).
OTHER SUMMER UPDATES – Rising senior LHP/OF/1B Mike Dury has helped the Grand Lake Mariners surge up the standings in the Great Lakes League, as the Mariners now are in 4th place (20-18) with that league also nearing its postseason tournament … Dury leads the team in doubles (7) while ranking 2nd in RBI (12) and runs scored (12), 3rd in walks (12) and 4th in games played (33, with 32 GS) … Dury’s other offensive stats include 15 hits, a home run and 6 HBPs (his pitching stats remain unchanged from last week: 3.48 ERA, 0-2, 5 GP/2 GS, 10.1 IP, 16 H, 5 BB, 4 Ks, WP, 3.21 team ERA) … Mendiola’s Altamonte Springs Snappers team (23-7) will finish atop the six-team Florida League … the sophomore-to be 3B/C has 18 hits, 13 runs, 4 doubles, 10 RBI, 8 walks, 3 HBPs and 25 Ks (plus a sac. bunt, a stolen base and 6 errors) … Mendiola’s teammates include four from fellow BIG EAST team South Florida – LHPs James Rowe and Gib Dannehauer, catcher Brad Karns and RHP Ray Garcia – plus three players each from the University of Florida (2B Avery Barnes, LHP J.K. Lacoste and RHP Chas Spottswood) and Florida State (RHP Ryan Strauss and OFs Mark Gildea and OF Josh Spivey), Duke catcher Brett Smith, Kentucky IF Anthony Ottrando and four Central Florida players: RHP/OF Matt McClung, 1B Kiko Vasquez, LHP Brian Brooks and RHP Brett Bordwine.